Preparing for your safari can be a daunting task, especially when you have limited luggage space and a long trip ahead of you. With this in mind, I have put together a basic list of what I believe the 5 most important items for your safari are. As long as you have these, everything else should fall into place. Of course, there are items I have not included and as such if there is something that you feel to be just as important, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
1. Camera & Battery Charger
First off, it doesn’t matter what type of camera you have, so long as you bring something with you to capture the myriad spectacular images, wildlife, landscapes, lodging and people you will encounter on your safari at Londolozi.
Regardless of what equipment you use, make sure to bring it on the game drives as this is where you will be exposed to the greatest variety of wildlife.
Further to this point are the additional attachments and accessories that come wild photographic and video equipment. Remember to include spare batteries, a battery charger, an international adaptor (if you are from the northern hemisphere), spare memory cards or a computer/external hard drive to download your footage onto. For the more seasoned photographer: lenses, flashes, tripods, spare bodies and cleaning equipment are all useful in the wilderness environment where dust and the elements can dirty your equipment.
Binoculars for a crucial part of the safari experience as they provide an intimate lens through which to experience the wilderness and the wildlife. Not only do binoculars assist in the identification of birds, reptiles and animals at a long range, but they also enhance the game viewing experience by allowing you to observe, close up, the patterns, colours, shapes and forms that make African wildlife so special.
Top binocular brands include Swarovski & Leica, however Bushnell, Nikon and Vortex are also extremely good.
Small, compact binoculars are lightweight to carry and easy to use. Although they may not provide the best optical range and quality, they are most definitely better than having nothing at all.
If you wish to purchase or rent a pair of binoculars, they are available at the Londolozi Living shop.
3. Hat, Sunglasses & Sunscreen
Although these could each be separated individually I have lumped them together in the interest of stating the critical elements needed for protection from the African sun. Wide brimmed hat is preferable, but a cap or peak will also work. Sunglasses keep the dust and harsh midday light out of your eyes.
It is worthwhile bringing a factor 30 or above sunscreen for the face, neck and arms. This is especially true in the summer months, however it wont hurt to put it on in the winter sun as well. For many people from who spend most of their time indoors, failure to use sunscreen during the day can result in very bad sunburn.
4. Closed Shoes & Neutral Clothing
I can give you many occasions when my feet have been scratched or cut by thorns and stones through walking around in open shoes. The bush is a rugged terrain and thus requires closed boots, trainers or sneakers. Although a pair of open shoes are often comfortable to wear in and around the camp, when heading out into the bush nothing beats a tough pair of boots.
Whether you are out on a drive or a bushwalk, neutral colored clothing allows you to blend into the bush with greater ease.
5. Insect Repellant & Torch
Whether you like it or not the wilderness contains many different species of insects, in particular the mosquito. Although insect repellant is provided at the lodge, it is always useful to have a bottle or spray around when the sun sets at the end of each day. Peaceful Sleep is a regularly used insect repellant that is freely available at Londolozi.
Despite the fact that our ranger and lodge staff all carry torches, having a small one of your own can be incredibly useful when the sun goes down. Often you will be out on a game drive and require a small bit of light to find a misplaced camera lens, jersey or bottle of water that has disappeared somewhere into the vehicle. When walking at around at night, torches are critical to be able to see where you place your feet. From potentially dangerous insects and reptiles to rocks and holes that you may fall into a small torch is one of the most useful items to carry.